As predicted, my brother's generosity and expertise in sharing bottles of wine led to a period of mourning while I readjusted to the real world. Thankfully, I've recovered sufficiently to appreciate some more reasonable gems.
Viu Manent Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, 2005. Valle de Colchagua, Chile.
A former roommate and wine lover gave me this bottle for my birthday. It's his go-to Cabernet, and seeing that his girlfriend lives close to a Total Wine, he's had plenty of opportunities to confirm that judgment. A big, bold cab; thick, dark and savory. It had a bite like a crocodile in the first ten minutes, but mellowed out smoothly within twenty.
Probably best paired with a rich meal, as it was a little too hefty for sipping while marveling at the contortions of Cirque de Soleil on DVD. I'd rather not look up the price of this gift, but I'm reasonably sure this one is in the affordable range. I love the copper sparkle in the icon.